25 favs of christmas.

Christmas time was here…Happiness and cheer.

Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year…

To say that we’ve been busy…would be a ridiculous understatement.
I do hope you had a wonderful holiday, a relaxing break, and a great start to the new year!

I think it’ll be nearly February if I try to play catch up with posts and pictures from all of the shenanigans of the last month. So, naturally, I’ll play you the highlight reel… In honor of Mr. Aaron ‘yuletide’ Chaloner’s favorite tradition, I’ll sum up our 25 “Favs” of Christmas. I need ABC Family’s catchy jingle playing in the background. Corny, I know. But this is my blog, and I get to do things like that.

{in no particular order…}
25. Chaloner Family Christmas. This year it was Aaron’s turn to show me a Chaloner Christmas! We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the whole family. We all drove up to go to Christmas Eve service at LifeChurch where Cody was working, I’d never done anything like that. & Santa Claus dropped off quite a few surprises at the house the next morning. We shared presents, had a wonderful Christmas dinner, just ‘played’ all day, and stayed in our PJ’s until nearly 6 pm!

24. Klein Family Christmas.
A new little baby in tow, McKinlee, for this year’s get together of food, fellowship, an always exciting Dirty Santa, and Grandpa’s reading of the nativity.

23. Christmas caroling.
When your whole family is a choir in itself, it lends to an evening of caroling for friends and neighbors. I think we should do this every year, except I want to dress up like Dickens characters. {I’d probably be alone in my bonnet with that one…}

22. Christmas with Dad.
Somehow Santa still had a sleigh full post-Christmas day and found us in Tennessee too. He got word that we have a new stocking this year---Emma. We had a busy day of playing, more playing, more games, and lots of bowls of chili to go around. I think we had five Christmases this year, down for the count from usual I’m pretty sure. We had a wonderful visit with both the Chaloner side and the Dedmon side. I loved stretching it out so long. I’m the person who would probably wait until 11:59 pm on Christmas Day to open gifts just to make the excitement last that much longer.

21. Christmas with Mom. I know I know, we’re ridiculous. Christmas just keeps going and going! We were able to spend nearly a week with Mom, hanging out, catching up, shopping, introducing her to Wii Sports & our new Wii Fit (Hilarious by the way)... and of course some sweet Santa Claus + stockings. I know I missed being there this year for the big extended family gatherings on Christmas Day, but we still managed to get together with lots of ‘em during our stay.

It’s hard enough once you get married and have to divide your time between eachothers families, but we kind of compounded everything all at once back home. I imagined it being more gradual, instead of a disappearing act. So, it’s not exactly ideal, but in another sense, eventually we all fly from the nest. Things will inevitably change for a nuclear family, we won’t all be running down the stairs in our footed PJs to see what santa brought forever. Not that it doesn’t make me sad, but in the long run that traditions evolve and I suppose we just have to adapt…(& eventually start our new ones with our little footed PJ wearers) & experience Christmas as simply cherishing the ones we love.

20. Decorating.
Our cozy, festive home. We're starting to get a few more things each year, I just can't get enough. We scored big with all the holiday stuff at 80% off at the Pottery Barn + Williams Sonoma outlets in Memphis, snatching up more fun decorations for next year! & We've started collecting more ornaments, and specifically a new, special one to commemorate something that happened each year. It'll be so sweet to look back at all the milestones in years to come.

19. Shopping.

a cheers and a jeers, I'm sure. Great sales post Christmas. But, Aaron would say the hustle-and-bustle is his favorite. He was actually bummed that we had all of our shopping done early and didn't "need" to go to the crazy, crowded mall with all the last-minute mayhem.

18. Gifts & (gift wrapping!) Totally not the 'reason for the season' i know i know, but on a list of 25, I think I can squeeze it in, right? & I love making the list and picking things out for friends and family. I never want to have to wait to give it to them though, and I always love everyone to be surprised if at all possible. So, I don't want to sound like a total brat and list off everything we got for christmas either, we have immensely generous family & friends and we are oh-so-grateful. and that's that. [Ok maybe just one hint...? I will tell you that we watched the BCS Championship game last night in some awesome HD....]

And an aside, as much love went into wrapping your presents as shopping for them. I 'collect' wrapping paper. A beautiful patterned roll is like the next best thing to my elaborate stationery collection. you guys know I love anything 'paper' just a little too much. ...and the ribbons. oh, and the tags... you know, I'd love to have one of those rooms in my house one day with one of those wrapping stations, you've seen those, no? my wrapping isn't out of some desire to have a storybook christmas, it's because I whole-heartedly enjoy the process. Gift bags are under my tree, ehm, but only if some awkward, misshapen gift makes it absolutely necessary.

17. Hillbilly Holidays. ‘If you kill it, you have to eat it…’ Jim’s desire for an afternoon of hunting with his uncles [Uncle Greg was in from Wyoming, too!] turned into a lesson in gun safety and ultimately dinner for all of us. Ok, I only ate pheasant. I couldn’t do squirrel, much to Jill’s disapproval – “Jae, you won’t know until you try.”

16. Hiking @ MouseTail Landing.

15. Emma’s First Christmas. A little one brings such a new spirit to the Christmas holiday. Just to imagine what they must think of all of the people around, the paper flying everywhere, the twinkling of the lights, all the sights and sounds…She was much more interested in the ribbons and sparkly tags this year. She, of course, wasn’t lacking for any packages…she’s already mastered her little pink walker. She's already begun taking steps on her own, she'll be toddling in no time! they grow up so fast. Trae’s starting up a daily video blog for Emma, so hopefully you’ll be able to see her in action soon.

14. Skeet Shooting.
Logan and Aaron were pumped to get out and play with this Christmas present [a 12 gauge and a clay pigeon launcher thingy]. They were both pretty good shots, Logan hitting some 20 in a row. Playstation does have its benefits. They were run off from shooting at the sandpits. It takes a brave person to walk up to someone with a gun and tell them they ‘can’t shoot here…’ is that so? {Mom and I, not pictured, off shopping & getting manicures.}

13. Baking.
and thanks to my five new aprons, cookbooks, dutch oven, pastry decorating kit, cupcake carrier, kitchen gadgets and small appliances…I will most likely be doing a whole lot more. Message received guys. ;) {taking Jill’s advice…}

12. Extended holiday time.

I’d always assumed once I turned in that ‘student ID’, I’d also have to surrender any long breaks as well. Well, working for the state of Oklahoma certainly has it’s perks – We had nearly 2 weeks paid holiday time. Next year, I’m trying to talk my family into taking a cruise over the holidays. We did that back in ’99, and it was such a blast. I say skip all the stress & expense of the big presents, let’s stuff a few stockings and celebrate Christmas!

11. Shocking presents. A hit this holiday was these laser tag guns that would give you a nice little ‘jolt’ when your partner shot your target. A nice little anxiety attack for the beholder if you ask me. Aaron and Cody had a wild west shoot out. Pretty stinkin’ hilarious. Then, from my mom he got remote control shock tanks. Good grief, won’t someone else come play with him?

10. the feeling of rescuing your remote-controlled airplane from 60 feet up in a tree. {per Aaron.}

9. Christmas movies.
{this is the part where I am the stenographer and Aaron gets a big smile on his face and starts rattling off...} 'Twas the night before christmas. Charlie Brown Christmas. Mickey's Christmas Carol. Rudolph the rednosed reindeer cartoon. A christmas story. Frosty. Christmas vacation. Elf. Love Actually. Ernest saves Christmas. . . and about 30 {not exaggerating. yes, I know that's at least one a day.} others that have come on cable TV over that last 4 weeks. " ....even a miracle needs a hand."

8. Learning how to play Nertz AND Peanuckle.

7. Happy New Year.
This year we celebrated with family at a fancy 4-course dinner at Sambuca. A pretty swell joint on any night. Last time, my Mom & I were there they had a live band, but just that perfect amount of funky ambiance without it being too dark or too loud. The menu was delicious-o… Aaron, not wanting anything to ever to go waste, cleaned up his Lobster Gnocchi (pronounced 'nyo kee', thanks Aunt Jewel!) as well as the rest of our plates. NY resolution = to remember the pain of overindulgence. We all rang in 2009 over at the Belcourt Theatre with a Nashville local rock-a-billy artist, BonePony. We even got in our black eyed peas and hog jaw the next day! Prosperity tastes like bacon.

6. Having a study-free/work-free husband.

5. Our play date with Jim & Jill…
These kids are such sweethearts. They needed some playmates for all of their new stuff from Santa Claus!

4. Oh, the Christmas songs. So, fyi, I was sick for most of the pre-Christmas season {hence the lack of active Christmassy ‘extras’ on the list…like ice skating, and all that fun stuff we did last year.} …so, that means I had no voice. And thus for the most part deprived of a favorite holiday pastime. O Holy Night and Hark the Herald Angels sing are my tops, what are yours? Remember when you were a kid around Christmastime and you’d go for a drive with the whole family and you’d carol to your little heart’s content…? I miss that.
But Aaron’s family still does …just last season, we took our car-full through the miles of Lights displayed in Yukon…singing songs, laughing all the way… ho ho ho. {Can’t wait to have our ‘choir’-full. Our kids are going to be so embarrassed by their parents.}

3. Christmas lights. {And the game ‘Christmas lights!’…as simple as it sounds.}
You can’t miss the Nichols Hills area this time of year. Aaron and I are pretty sure most of the homeowners have hired help for their holiday handiwork. We caught an awesome display {near that house displayed in the post below…} at a home that had their lights timed to Christmas carols. You tuned to a specific radio station and watched as the whole display danced and flickered along with the music. They’ve got spirit, yes they do.

2. Papa Bowman.
So, of course it’s not a ‘favorite’ at all that he’s been sick this Christmas. But, my great-grandfather is one of my favorite people in this world. They believe he had a heart attack on Dec 30th, and he spent several days in the hospital. He’s been pretty weak, and right now he’s not strong enough for any type of intervention for the damage that was done. He saw his 94th Christmas this year, with all the ones I can remember being held right there at his house downstairs with a whole gathering of family. At his age, he’s still so sharp, so strong, and continues to work the fields at their farm. If you may, Keep him and my great-grandmother in your prayers that they would find strength, comfort, healing and most of all peace in Him.

1. Christ.
Did you think about Him this Christmas? Stop and really think? Take it all in, a good look around. I’m overwhelmed at it all.
As sunday school as it sounds, it really is the ultimate gift. An awe-inspiring, amazing, selfless gift. For all of our blessings, for all whom we cherish – much is expected. I’m ashamed to have ever taken it for granted and left any gratitude unsaid, unpraised. This is truly more than we could ever deserve.
…Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year.


nertzfan said...

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